Masekela succumbs to prostate cancer
In a rare interview, legendary musician Hugh Masekela sat down with TshisaLIVE in July 2017, just months before his death on Tuesday.
Journalist Chrizelda Kekana spoke to Bra Hugh about the reason he was so selective with media interviews and his desire to do what he was passionate about. Bra Hugh told TshisaLIVE that he just wanted to impart his knowledge and didn't bother too much about his "legacy". "I don't have any ambitions [about my legacy]. I just feel that it's work that I am supposed to do, otherwise my ancestors will punish me. Why? Because I got so much from them. But I don't have an ambitious future about 'Hugh Masekela's legacy'."
Bra Hugh said he knew he was living through his "bonus" years and wanted to live it day by day. "I don't want to live beyond where I am now… and I live it day by day. And, I think once you get too involved with your legacy and all that sh*t, you are swallowed by your own ego."
“There will never be another Hugh Masekela. That’s how cruel death is but of course all of us will follow soon or later. We see a lot of people close to us passing on but we never come to terms with death or get used to it. It always in one way or the other break our hearts. It is death, a situation whereby a person vanishes from your eyes and from the surface of earth forever. Simply put, death shocks and devastates us. It’s a fact, THE LEGENDARY HUGH MASEKELA IS NO MORE.”
On Tuesday, Monageng co-owner of Millennium Jazz restaurant and host of a jazz music show on Gabz FM every Sunday dubbed “The Joy of Jazz” remembers seeing a Facebook post from one Shike Olsen in the early morning of Tuesday, when Bra Hugh died – “Am I the only one getting the reports that Bra Hugh has passed on? I hope this is a hoax.”
“Of course Shike was not the only one who had heard of the passing on of our beloved father, grandfather, brother, uncle and great music teacher, composer, arranger and performer and activist par excellence. Indeed a lot of people had already come across the shocking and unfortunate news but just that many were still reeling at the news of his death, with shock.”
Affectionately known as Uncle Shima, the avid jazz aficionado added, “For a fact we all wish to celebrate the lives of people who have done it all in life, touched our hearts and impacted positively on us but as human beings, the first inevitable feeling you get is that of sorrow and grief before pulling yourself together and thinking of celebrating the person’s life! It’s natural to grief under such circumstances and I’m among those who find nothing wrong with people who mourn and grief the passing of their beloved ones and even do so by crying. I say to such persons, yes, go on and cry, so long as you don’t mourn and grief forever.”
On Tuesday night, Seabelo Modibe reminded us on his Facebook post to watch a tribute and repeat of Hugh Masekela’s live performance at the Market Theatre via Mzansi Magic Music channel and oh boy, what a spiritual and moving performance of the man we will never meet again on this planet.”
“He was accompanied on stage by the likes of Khaya Mahlangu on saxophone, our very own Bro Blackie John Selolwane on lead guitar, Bass was Fana Zulu and Ezbie Moilwa from Mafikeng etc. I fully concur with Seabelo when he continued to say ‘Dear Hon President… (Sic)…Your Excellency President Mokgweetsi Masisi, please honour this man with a badge, let the Presidential Honours be bigger in 2018.’ However, I would like to advocate that let’s honour them whilst they are still alive especially in direct reference to Bro John Selolwane who has been arguably Botswana’s music ambassador.”
“Another friend of mine Mcjon Mosenene posited ‘The Choo Choo has stopped moving. The flugelhorn has gone silent. Jazz has been thrown into darkness.” “My humble request would be to humbly invite Bro Jonas Gwangwa to sing, ‘Don’t let the sun dawn on you’. I say this because within a short period, we have lost a number of great musicians in the likes of Ray Phiri of Stimela, Soares Katumbela, Errol Dyers and many others. Indeed a true legend has fallen – one of the great Architects of Afro Jazz. He had a soft spot for Batswana. He taught and mentored many. He has performed in this country more than any South African legend I have known.”
“He was to perform yet again at the Hamptons in March this year but his deteriorating health got in the way. I have told a couple of my friends including the late Soares (MHSRIP) that Bra Hugh didn’t take nonsense from anybody. My first close encounter with him many years back was at Moretele Park’s Joy of Jazz Festival where he was performing. The sound was not good and he played only two songs and left the stage saying the show promoter may keep his money and he would keep his music. After many other groups had performed, the sound was next to perfection and the jazz maestro came back on stage and did what does best.”
“In one of his shows in Botswana, we went back stage with a number of friends to wait for him so that we could greet him. While on stage, he spotted us waiting back stage. There was this pretty lady who stood there with us. The lady was a bit excited and kept on shouting Hugh Masekela’s name. Bra Hugh looked back and said loudly on the mike – ‘You are making noise and you should say Bra Hugh because I’m not your cousin. Also go and take off that dead people's hair (Tsamaya oye go ntsha moriri oo wa baswi).’ The poor lady cried, embarrassed and went to her car and slept throughout the entire show.”
“I also remember at one point at one of his shows where I was not spared. I was talking to him and standing very close to him and he loudly said, ‘Guys, please tell Shimmy that I don’t need his showers! This meant as I was talking drops of saliva oozed out of my mouth. I was truly embarrassed but unlike the lady I didn’t cry or leave the festival. Bro Hugh, the Father of South Africa Jazz, was a marvel to watch on stage. Even at the time when he was living in the evening of his days, he could be seen going down (maget-down) on stage better than those who were half his age.
Rest in Peace Bra Hugh for you have seen it all, done it all and you were larger than life. You enjoyed life to the fullest and you taught us a lot and your music will live on forever since you are leaving behind scores of incredible albums. There will never be another Hugh Masekela.”
Uncle Shima – The Joy of Jazz, Gabz FM
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Dr Lame Pusetso comes to writer’s rescue
Multi award winning author of fifteen (15) books, Dr Lame Pusetso has put together a platform to empower local writers. Dr Pusetso is a President and Chairperson of the Executive Board of Kasapa Society.
She is also the Managing Director of Poeticblood Publishers and an owner of an online bookstore dubbed Mind and Soul Bookstores. Dr Pusetso has reiterated her commitment to helping upcoming authors, writers and poets in establishing their crafts and capitalizing on them.
In an exclusive interview this week, she said that she has put together a platform dubbed Botswana Literature Awards, which have fourteen categories.
When quizzed on what the awards stand for, Dr Pusetso said “writing as a form of art in Botswana is a skill that many have and have always been exploring. As a publisher, I have met different writers from all walks of life and some indicating that there isn’t enough motivation to keep going.”
In Botswana and according to the writer, there has been a limited representation of appreciation of authors. This is despite their efforts year in year out.
The whole intention of these awards really is to honor and recognize the hard work that local authors put in, when doing what they know best (writing).
“This is a way of appreciating their creativity and we will be doing this across all genres. The awards also act as a motivational tool to young writers who still have dreams of becoming best selling authors. Quite frankly, their works are of great importance and we cannot afford to let that slide like that.”
Dr Pusetso emphasized that all the winners will walk away with an award, a certificate and complimentary gifts to take home. “The two winners of Best Overall Author and Best Young Author will in addition receive book publication deals which includes book distribution and marketing for a year.
She gave a clearer picture of how authors can be a part of the literature awards.
“The awards are open to every author from the age of 7, must be a Motswana, and their book should have been published before or by 2022. For authors with more than one book, they are allowed to compete with only one book for one category, and different books for different categories.”
The young writer pinned hope on institutional collaborations, in order to stage the second edition of the awards next year, saying “We believe with these awards, the different institutions and stakeholders will show interest in helping nurture the literature scenario in Botswana.”
“It will also give authors hope and light to keep writing and penning down their stories for the benefit of all. We anticipate to host the next edition in 2024 with assistance from all interested parties.”
THE LITERATURE AWARDS CATEGORIES
Dr Pusetso stressed that there are fourteen (14) categories, and they are: Religious or Faith Based Book, Poetry Book, Children’s Book, Multi-lingual Writer, Best Collaboration, Setswana Novel, English Novel, Motivational Book, Best Young Author (7-13), Overall Best Author, Best Theory, Best Online Writer, Best Media Writer (Honor Award) and Honor Award (Long Serving Best Author).
EXPLAINING SPECIAL AWARDS
Best Media and Honor Award, Dr Pusetso said are not based on submissions but nomination by the committee. “For Honor Award, we want to appreciate the individual who has inspired the Botswana writing scenario over the years and even assisted numerous authors as both a writer and a community leader.”
The Best Media Writer award is meant to appreciate a journalist who is actively taking part in appreciating and helping authors in marketing, advertising and affording them a platform to showcase their works through their writing skills.
Meanwhile, the Botswana Literature Awards will be held on the 29th April and they are partially sponsored through the literacy grant. This is a grant under the Botswana National Library Services which falls under the Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sports and Culture.
Women’s Awards hit the ground running
The second edition of the much-anticipated Women’s Awards Botswana will be going down on the 27th May 2023 in Gaborone at Travel Lodge. The organizers of the prestigious awards have announced finalists, with three nominees per category.
Women’s Awards Botswana is established to empower women and celebrate them from all walks of life and across sectors. The awards raise awareness for women to be granted equal participation, particularly in decision-making positions, as one way of breaking the gender bias.
They also seek to celebrate the outstanding achievements of women from diverse industries in Botswana. Taking a closer look at the categories, He for She award celebrates and shines a light on men who stand and support women.
These are men who advocate for inclusion of women, men who stand against GBV and men who promote any service that can better women life. Her Abilities award looks into women who have shown determination to keep moving and achieve any goal they have set for themselves, regardless of their disability.
Other awards are self-explanatory. They celebrate women in arts, culture and entertainment, agriculture, creativity, innovation and technology, tourism and hospitality, community impact as well as organization supporting women.
ORGANIZER SPEAKS ON CRITERIA USED
When speaking in an interview, Founder and Director of Women’s Awards Botswana, Bofelo Zebe, said in their first edition, they had fifteen categories, which was enough for a piloting project.
“But we left out many industries or lines of work. After the event, we received reviews and suggestions, and there was an intensive evaluation that led to us increasing the categories to eighteen for this second edition.”
He said the nominees were voted in by the public, adding that the finalists were judged by a panel with the support of votes from their supporters.
When shedding light on what winners take home, Zebe indicated that there is an award trophy, certificate and goodie bags for all categories but “we are working to have financial sponsors jump on board so that winners and nominees can receive monetary incentives. We are also busy at work trying to retain our previous sponsors.”
THE 2023 WOMEN’S AWARDS BOTSWANA NOMINEES
HE FOR SHE AWARD
Desmond Lunga, Tlhabo Kgosiemang and Christopher Seagateng
BEST WOMAN IN ARTS, CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT
Ditshupo Mosoboloko, Thanolo Keutlwile and Seneo Mabengano
HER ABILITIES AWARD
Koketso Seleke, Goabo Kgasa and Mumsie Odirile
SPORTS WOMAN OF THE YEAR
Naledi Marape, Ouname Mhotsha and Keamogetse Kenosi
WOMAN FASHION DESIGNER OF THE YEAR
Montle Rantatana, Lesedi Matlapeng and Trudy Bakwena
BEST WOMAN IN AGRICULTURE
Nomathemba Masuku, Basadi Molelekeng and Keolebogile Keabetswe
BEST WOMAN IN CREATIVITY, INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY
Marang Mbaakanyi, Didintle Moreki and Thandeka Palai
BEST WOMAN IN TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY
Masego Keleadile, Wapula Matshambane and Tshepo Phokoje
YOUNG WOMAN OF THE YEAR
Bridget Gothaang, Waone Makobo and Kimberly Matheakgomo
WOMAN OWNED SME BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
Suits Africa, Nomlu Nail Bar and Sunflower Desserts
BEST WOMAN OWNED BUSINESS
Prezlin Clothing and Dawn Bell Academy
FEMALE MUSIC ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Mpho Sebina, Dato Seiko and Priscilla K
BEST ORGANIZATION SUPPORTING WOMEN
Sekao Foundation, The Fighters Support Group and Single Mothers Living with HIV
BEST WOMAN WITH COMMUNITY IMPACT
Lebopo Bulayani, Nanzelela Chaitezvi and Kebadile Wasenda
MEDIA WOMAN OF THE YEAR
Poppy Sello, Keikantse Shumba and Kedi Lezozo
FAVOURITE PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
Marang Selolwane, Palesa Molefe and Masi Sithole
BEST WOMAN IN LEADERSHIP
Naseem Lahri, Neo Bogatsu and Lily Rakorong
AMANDA BLACK RETURNS TO SELF WITH NEW SINGLE “NGUWE”
“NGUWE” SETS THE TONE TO HER FORTH STUDIO ALBUM
Johannesburg, Friday, 17th March 2022- ” Amanda Black returns with her signature mix of Afro Pop, hip hop, R&B, and deeply-rooted Xhosa influences to deliver an inspirational message of returning to self and self-love with her new single “Nguwe” .
Available all digital platforms.
The single comes as Amanda Black gears up to release her forth studio album, featuring new songs with her signature sound infusing R&B Soul and tribal African melodies. As she grows and discovers herself as an individual, a spiritual being and a musician, Amanda is on a journey of self-discovery. The music reflects on the better and more hopeful space she has come to in this journey, the single “Nguwe” sets the tone and follows the theme of the upcoming album. The music is about falling in love with self , honoring yourself by self-acceptance. The overall theme and message is spiritual reconnection and trusting herself with her music.
Surfacing in 2016, that album was certified platinum a scant three weeks after its release and went on to earn Black numerous nominations and awards – including three South Africa Music Awards, two Metro Awards and a BET International Artist Of The Year nomination.
Most importantly, Amazulu’s mix of Afro Pop, hip hop, R&B, and deeply-rooted Xhosa influences secured Black a devoted fanbase that stretched right across the country. These music lovers quickly embraced her gift for telling authentic coming-of-age African stories through songs that touched on the universal experiences of love and heartbreak, of finding and losing yourself, of having hopes and dealing with fears.
But, in the background, Black was discovering that the road to becoming a fulltime artist wasn’t easy – even one marked by commercial and critical success straight out of the gate.
Of course, when she began singing in church as a child growing up in the Eastern Cape, and even when she studied Music Education at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Black never imagined it would all be plain sailing. She knew there was no guarantee that, when she boarded a Greyhound bus headed for Johannesburg, she would return home with a story of success to tell. Too many talented musicians from her home town had made that same journey but had never returned – an experience captured with poignant insight on “Bayile”, one of Power’s standout tracks.
Still, Black never expected she’d have to expend so much energy standing up for her artistic rights after she’d become one of South Africa’s most popular and awarded artists. There was even a moment when she thought, “what am I doing this for?”. “The music industry is not what it looks like from the outside,” the 25-year-old says, with just a flash of emotion. “Becoming a singer is not what you imagine. It’s a lot harder and a lot deeper. At that time, I asked myself, ‘do you even still love music’. I truly didn’t know if I could continue to keep fighting to be treated with respect and fairness. There was a part of me that thought maybe music should just be a hobby – that I should just return to that happy place where I play my music and sing, for myself, my family and my community and it feels good.”
But, in spite of feeling helpless and hopeless at times, deep down Black knew that she still adored this thing called music; that the dream she’s always had, of doing something that can change the world and heal people, remained intact. And so she went to the one place where she knew she could move through the dark and into the light and start writing music again: home.
“My family is like my compass,” Black says, her words laced with gratitude and love. “They are always there to support me, especially my mom. Whenever I go home, it’s to recharge. I can honestly say that being there is like getting my superpower back.”
Alongside allowing her to feel the energetic power of her roots and the love of her family, being home enabled Black to make sense of the journey she’d travelled so far. She’d learnt to play and write on the guitar at 16 and, as part of reclaiming the purity of her love for making music, she returned to the instrument within the safety of home. “The sound of the guitar soothes me, and it reminds of when I would write and play music with no conditions, with no expectations,” she says. Black also began working with the beats and melodies that she has on her phone, freestyling lyrics with no judgement or editing, letting her spirit feel its way forward through singing and playing and imagining.
With a renewed sense of her creative being propelling her, Black returned to Johannesburg. There she embarked on process of making Power and establishing her new label Afro Rockstar, in partnership with Sony Music. Power is a mix of autobiographical songs – a highlight is the light-hearted “Egoli” – and others, like first single “Thandwa Ndim”, that see Black giving impactful voice to the experiences of women in the current socio-political moment. The album features several love songs including “Lemme Go” and “Love Again”, and includes the stunning “Hamba”, a song about being thirsty for life, love, hope and happiness that features a chorus sampled from Margaret Singana’s “Hamba Bhekile” off “Shaka Zulu”.
Power sees Black once more working with producer Christer Kobedi and the album also has a special collaboration with keyboardist and producer, Kenneth Crouch. In the end, it’s an album of inspiration, of motivation and of integrity. As the next musical calling card of a South African global artist in-the-making, it’s breath-taking and is poised to bring Black back to where she belongs: performing beautiful music for music lovers everywhere